As the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) gears up to expand its Trusted Trader Program, manufacturers are hoping it sparks better ways to improve the security, efficiency, performance and compliance of their global supply chains.
The pilot program, launched in September, is designed to enable CBP to manage supply chain security and compliance by unifying the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Importer Self-Assessment (ISA) initiatives. C-TPAT was launched in 2001 to ensure the safety of imported goods, while ISA focuses on compliance with traditional customs issues, such as classification and valuation.
CBP’s long-term goal is to have a Trusted Trader Program across U.S. government agencies, which would also create an opportunity to enhance existing and future mutual recognition arrangements with foreign trading partners.
So what does that mean for your company? With the Trusted Trader Program, CBP plans to create a holistic approach for companies to achieve trusted trader status.
The expansion of the Trusted Trader Program would no doubt speed the flow of legitimate shipments, and is just another positive step in protecting and facilitating international trade and enabling modern business practices.
The comment deadline for the expansion was August 26. Questions included:
- Whether the extension would be useful.
- Whether it would improve the quality and clarity of the information collected.
- Whether it would minimize the burden of information collection.
During the CBP’s 2013 East Coast Trade Symposium, which spans from October 24 to 25, 2013, industry leaders can participate in “Trusted Traders: Ushering in a New Era of Holistic CBP Trusted Partnership Programs.” This session is expected to include:
- Updates and discussions on the program’s accomplishments to date.
- Additional incentives that could also be offered.
- The strategic direction of the Trusted Trader Program moving forward.
According to the CBP, the Trusted Trader Program would have no effect on C-TPAT or its benefits. CBP also states that the mutual recognition arrangements between C-TPAT, and the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) programs of Mexico and China could be in place within the next 12 to 18 months.
C-TPAT helps companies proactively manage their supply chains by controlling the risks and threats associated with their partners and regions. Companies already complying with C-TPAT can gather information from partners once and apply that information, where applicable, for each country to adapt to minimum security requirements for mutual recognition.
While the final outcome of the Trusted Trader Program is unknown, the more prepared you are for this transformational program, the better off your company is.
Sri Ramadas, the director of projects and services for Netwin Solutions, has more than 10 years of information technology (IT) experience in business development, account management, project management and product implementation management.